Lexicon

This abridged lexicon explains some of the terms and concepts relevant to the study of hope, optimism, and related states. (Thanks to our research assistants Jonathan Vance and Jeff Snapper for help in generating this resource.)


KEY TERMS


ASQ: Attributional Style Questionnaire (developed to measure ATTRIBUTIONAL-EXPLANATORY STYLE OPTIMISM) (Peterson et al., 1982)

ATTRIBUTIONAL-EXPLANATORY STYLE OPTIMISM: explanation of negative events in terms of external, unstable and specific causes and explanation of positive events in terms of internal, stable, global causes

BIG OPTIMISM

  • Big Optimism 1: an attitude towards progress and the general advancement of humanity (Bennett 2011a)
  • Big Optimism 2: an intellectual optimism projected onto a large canvas (Bennett 2011a)
  • Big Optimism 3: larger and less specific expectations than those of LITTLE OPTIMISM (Peterson 2000)

CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY: measures different groups in a sample who differ according to the target variable

DISPOSITIONAL OPTIMISM

  • Dispositional Optimism 1: a stable expectation that good things will happen (Andersson 2012)
  • Dispositional Optimism 2: a personality variable, relatively stable across time and context, whose defining characteristic is an expectation that good things rather than bad will generally happen (Scheier and Carver 1992)

EASQ: Expanded Attributional Style Questionnaire (Peterson & Villanova, 1988)

END OF THE STORY OPTIMISM: optimism about the way the story of life (or one’s life) will end (Bassett et al. 2008)

EXPLANATORY STYLE OPTIMISM: how people typically explain negative events – explanation of negative events in terms of causal factors that are external to the person, unstable, and specific (Buchanan and Seligman 1995)

HERE AND NOW OPTIMISM: optimism about states of affairs within a more tightly circumscribed temporal horizon (e.g., about matters right now or tomorrow or the next day) (Bassett et al. 2008)

HOPE

  • Hope 1: Hope most generally refers to a desire for positive futures that are considered possible, either theoretically or in practice, but not guaranteed. (Amsler 2007).
  • Hope 2: a future-directed, four-channel emotion network, constructed from biological, psychological, and social resources. The four constituent channels are the mastery, attachment, survival, and spiritual systems (or subnetworks). The hope network is designed to regulate these systems via both feed-forward (expansion) and feedback processes (maintenance) that generate a greater perceived probability of power and presence as well as protection and liberation. (Scioli et al. 2011).
  • Hope 3: a thinking process that involves an agency and pathways for one’s goals (Snyder et al. 1997)
  • Hope (as Anticipation) (HA): Hope is a state of being characterized by an anticipation for a continued good state, an improved state, or a release from a perceived entrapment. The anticipation may or may not be founded on concrete, real world evidence…Hope is an anticipation of a future which is good and is based upon: mutuality (relationships with others), a sense of personal competence, coping ability, psychological well-being, purpose and meaning in life, as well as a sense of ‘the possible. (Miller, 1986; Miller, 2000)
  • Hope (as Belief + Desire) (HBD)
    • HBD 1: Hope is that general tendency to construct and respond to the perceived future positive. The hopeful person subjectively assesses what is desired for the future to be probable or important as to constrain belief and behaviour to be grounded upon its possibility. (Nunn, 1996; cf. Nunn et al., 1996)
    • HBD 2: To hope is to believe that something positive, which does not presently apply to one's life, could still materialize, and so we yearn for it. Although desire (or motivation) is an essential feature, hope is much more than this because it requires the belief in the possibility of a favorable outcome, which gives hope a cognitive aspect and distinguishes it from the concept of motivation, per se. (Lazarus, 1999)
  • Hope (as a Complex, Goal-Directed Threat Response): [H]ope is a response to a threat that results in the setting of a desired goal; the awareness of the cost of not achieving the goal; the planning to make the goal a reality; the assessment, selection, and use of all internal and external resources and supports that will assist in achieving the goal; and the re-evaluation and revision of the plan while enduring, working, and striving to reach the desired goal. (Morse & Doberneck, 1995)
  • Hope (as an Emotion): Hope is an emotion that occurs when an individual is focused on an important positive future outcome. (P. Bruininks and B. Malle, 2005)
  • Hope (as an Energized Mental State) (HEMS)
    • HEMS 1: Hope is an energized mental state characterized by an action-oriented, positive expectation that goals or needs for self and future are obtainable, and that the present state of situation is temporary. (Stotland, 1969; cited in Stoner, 2003)
    • HEMS 2: Hope is an energized mental state involving feelings of uneasiness or uncertainty and characterized by a cognitive, action-oriented expectation that a positive future goal or outcome is possible. (Haase et al., 1992)
  • Hope (as Expectation): Hope [is] a subtle, if not unconscious, expectation regarding an abstract but positive aspect of the future. (Stoner, 2003)
  • Hope (as a Multi-Faceted Process or Act): Hope constitutes a delicate balance of experiencing the pain of difficult life experiences, sensing an interconnectedness with others, drawing upon one’s spiritual or transcendent nature, and maintaining a rational or mindful approach for responding to these life experiences. (Farran et al., 1995)
  • Hope (as a Psychological Process Aimed at Transcendence): the process through which a person works to emerge from the life situation at hand towards a resultant state of transcendence, labeled the reformulated self and becomes a person with re-evaluated priorities and new life perspectives (Morse & Penrod, 1999)
  • Hope (as a Source of Motivation and Coping): Hope is an essential ingredient that supplies the incentive to rise in the morning and look forward to the new day regardless of the circumstances, the [subject’s] physical difficulties, or the emotional pain. (Bunston et al., 1996)
  • Hope (as State of Mind Characterized by Its Origins): Hope is a positive state of mind which results from the positive outcome of ego strength, perceived human family support, religion, education, and economic assets. (Obayuwana et al., 1982; cited in Stoner, 2003)
  • Hope (as a Transcendent Power or Process) (HTPP)
    • HTPP 1: an inner power directed toward a new awareness and enrichment of ‘being’ rather than rational expectations (Herth, 1990)
    • HTPP 2: an inner power that facilitates the transcendence of the present situation and enables a reality-based expectation of a brighter tomorrow for self and/or others (Herth, 1993; this ‘definition’ is endorsed by Bays, 2001)
  • Hope (as Movement or Tendency of an Appetite—Aquinas): Hope is a movement of appetite aroused by the perception of what is agreeable, future, arduous, and possible of attainment. It is the tendency of an appetite towards this sort of object.
  • Hope (as an Appetite—Hobbes): Hope is an appetite, with an opinion of attaining.
  • Hope (as a Pleasure—Spinoza): Hope is just an inconstant pleasure that has arisen from the image of a future or past event whose outcome we doubt.
  • Hope (as a Pleasure—Locke): Hope is that pleasure of the mind, which every one finds in himself upon the thought of a probably future enjoyment of a thing which is apt to delight him.
  • Hope (as a Direct Passion—Hume): When either good or evil is uncertain, it gives rise to fear or hope, according to the degrees of uncertainty on the one side or the other.
  • Hope (as a Propositional Attitude, but not an Emotion)
    • J.P. Day: S hopes that p iff S desires that p and S believes that the probability of p is between 0 and 1, exclusive.
    • T. Govier: We hope for an outcome when we want it, think it possible and have positive expectations about it.
  • Hope (as an Attitude Toward a State of the World—Luc Bovens): S hopes at t for a state of the world E iff (i) at t, S is not confident that E will happen, (ii) at t, S is not confident that E will not happen, (iii) at t, S desires that E will happen, (iv) S engages in some mental imaging of E at some time or other (it need not be at t).
  • Hope (as an Attitude—M. Miceli and C. Castelfranchi): S hopes that p iff S believes that it is possible that p, S is uncertain whether it will be the case that p, S does not believe that p is more probable than p, and S wishes that p.
  • Hope (Adrienne Martin): endorsed desire plus uncertainty
  • Hope (as a Propositional Attitude—A. Meirav): S hopes that p iff S resignatively desires that p, S believes that it is in some degree probable that p, and S views the relevant external factor(s) as like someone who (with regard to the object of hope) to a substantial degree, can benefit S, wants to benefit S, and knows how to do so.
  • Hope (as a Propositional Attitude—P. Pettit): S substantively hopes that p iff S desires that p, S believes that the probability of p is between 0 and 1 exclusive, and S acts as if p is going to obtain or has a good chance of obtaining.
  • Hope (as an Emotion—V. McGeer): S hopes that p iff S desires that p, is uncertain whether p will obtain, and is agentially invested in p’s obtaining.

LITTLE OPTIMISM

  • Little Optimism 1: the expression of personal hopes and desires (Bennett 2011a)
  • Little Optimism 2: specific expectations about positive outcomes (e.g., I will get an A on my term paper) (Peterson 2000)

LONGITUDINAL STUDY: measures the change in a variable over time within a single sample group

LOT: Life Orientation Test (developed to assess individual differences in generalized optimism versus pessimism)

LOT-R: Life Orientation Test-Revised (successor to the LOT, and which focused more carefully on expectations for the future/developed to measure DISPOSITIONAL OPTIMISM 2)

OBJECTIVE MEASURES OF PHYSICAL HEALTH: includes survival, mortality, immune function, cardiovascular outcomes, cancer outcomes, and pregnancy outcomes (Rasmussen et al. 2009)

OPTIMISM

  • Optimism 1: a mood or attitude associated with an expectation about the social or material future—one which the evaluator regards as socially desirable, to his [or her] advantage, or for his [or her] pleasure (Tiger, 1979)
  • Optimism 2: a particular mode of viewing the future (Bennett 2011a)
  • Optimism 3: a tendency to hold positive expectations of the future (Bennett 2011b)
  • Optimism 4: not “cold-cognition,” but has distinct emotional and motivational components (Peterson 2000)
  • Optimism 5: includes a normative/evaluative component which precludes there being a single, objective optimism. That for which person A is optimistic might cause person B to be pessimistic (Peterson 2000)
  • Optimism 6: expresses probability – the belief that the anticipated future is more likely than not to materialize (Bennett 2011a, p. 303)

OPTIMISM BIAS

  • Optimism Bias 1: a tendency to underestimate the likelihood of negative events and overestimate the likelihood of positive events
  • Optimism Bias 2: a tendency to have a lower estimate of the likelihood of future negative events than their actuarial likelihood and a tendency to have a higher estimate of the likelihood of future positive events than their actuarial likelihood
  • Optimism Bias 3: a tendency to have a lower estimate of the likelihood of future negative events than their actuarial likelihood
  • Optimism Bias 4: a lower estimation of the likelihood of future negative events than their actuarial likelihood (and a higher estimation of the likelihood of future positive events than their actuarial likelihood)
  • Optimism Bias 5: optimistic predictions (see: OPTIMISTIC PREDICTION) that are favorable relative to some contrast item or class of items
  • Evidence-Relative Optimism Bias: optimistic prediction favorable relative to a subject’s (total) evidence at the time of prediction (e.g., a subject predicts that a task will take her one day to complete, but her (total) evidence indicates that it will take two)
  • General Optimism Bias: predictions that one’s prospects are generally favorable
  • Interpersonal-Relative Optimism Bias: optimistic prediction favorable relative to a subject’s predictions for (average) outcomes for other people (e.g., a subject predicts that a task will take her one day to complete and also predicts that, on average, it will take others two days)
  • Outcome-Relative Optimism Bias: optimistic prediction favorable relative to an actual outcome (e.g., a subject predicts that a task will take her one day to complete but it actually takes two)
  • Specific Optimism Bias: prediction that a (perceived to be) good token event will (or is likely to) occur.

OPTIMISM OF EVERYDAY LIFE: a tendency to hold positive expectations about the future (Bennett 2011b)

OPTIMISTIC PREDICTION: prediction that a (perceived to be) good event will occur

PRIVATE OPTIMISM: an individual characteristic (Peterson 2000)

PROSPECTIVE STUDY: [A] prospective study [is] a form of longitudinal study that assesses the associations between a predictor at one point in time and an outcome at a later point, controlling for the association between predictor and outcome at baseline (Rasmussen et al. 2009)

PUBLIC OPTIMISM: an interpersonal characteristic that is socially communicated (Peterson 2000)

REPRESENTATIVENESS HEURISTIC: a type of mental shortcut where we tend to judge the likelihood of an event by how well it matches our existing prototypes of such events. When an object or event seems more representative, we tend to judge it as more likely or probable

SITUATED OPTIMISM: optimistic prediction that a (perceived to be) good event will occur (Armor and Taylor 2002)

SUBJECTIVE MEASURES OF PHYSICAL HEALTH: includes self-report of physical well-being and symptoms (Rasmussen et al. 2009)

UNREALISTIC OPTIMISM: perceiving that one’s chances of experiencing a negative event are lower than they actually are (Bassett et al. 2008)


REFERENCES

Amsler, S. (2007) “Hope.” Encyclopedia of Sociology. doi:10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x.

Andersson, M. A. (2012) “Dispositional Optimism and the Emergence of Social Network Diversity.” The Sociological Quarterly 53(1): 92-115.

Aquinas, T. (2006). Summa Theologiae. Cambridge University Press.

Armor, D.A. & Taylor, S.E. (2002). “When Predictions Fail: The Dilemma of Unrealistic Optimism.” In T. Gilovich, D. Griffin, & D. Kahneman (Eds.), Heuristics and Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment (pp. 334-347). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Bassett, R. L., Garrick, I., Fogarty, M., Giagalone, S., Kapuscinski, A., Olmstead, M., McRae, M., et al. (2008) “Walking Down the Sunny side of the Street: Three Studies Developing a Spiritually Nuanced Measure of Optimism.” The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 18: 330-52.

Bays, C. (2001). “Older Adults’ Descriptions of Hope after a Stroke.” Rehabilitation Nursing 26 (1): 18-20.

Bennett, Oliver. (2011a) “Cultures of Optimism.” Cultural Sociology 5(2): 301-20.

Bennett, Oliver. (2011b) “The Manufacture of Hope: Religion, Eschatology and the Culture of Optimism.” International Journal of Cultural Policy 17(2): 115-30.

Bovens, L. (1999). “The Value of Hope.” Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 59(3): 667-681.

Bruininks, P. and Malle, B. (2005). “Distinguishing Hope from Optimism and Related Affective States.” Motivation and Emotion 29(4): 324-352.

Buchanan, G. M., and Seligman M. E. P. (Eds.). (1995) Explanatory Style. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Bunston, T., Mings, D., Mackie, A., & Jones, D. (1996). “Facilitating Hopefulness: The Determinants of Hope.” Journal of Psychosocial Oncology 13(4): 79-103.

Day, J. (1969). “Hope.” American Philosophical Quarterly 6(2): 89-102.

Day, J. (1970). “The Anatomy of Hope and Fear.” Mind 79(315): 369-384.

Farran, C. J., Herth, K. A., & Popovich, J. M. (1995). Hope and Hopelessness: Critical Clinical Constructs. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Govier, T. (2011). “Hope and its Opposites.” Journal of Social Philosophy 42(3): 239-253.

Haase, J. E., Britt, T., Coward, D. D., Leidy, N. K., & Penn, P. E. (1992). “Simultaneous Concept Analysis of Spiritual Perspective, Hope, Acceptance and Self‐transcendence.” Journal of Nursing Scholarship 24(2): 141-147.

Herth, K. A. (1990). “Fostering Hope in the Terminally Ill.” Nursing Science Quarterly 4(3): 177-184.

Herth, K. A. (1993). “Hope in Older Adults in Community and Institutional Settings.” Issues in Mental Health Nursing 14: 139-156.

Hobbes, T. (1968). Leviathan. Edited with an Introd. by CB Macpherson. Penguin Books.

Hume, D. (2000). A Treatise of Human Nature. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Lazarus, R. S. (1999). “Hope: An Emotion and a Vital Coping Resource against Despair.” Social Research 66(2): 653-678.

Locke, John. (1975). An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Martin, Adrienne. (2011). “Hopes and Dreams.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research83(1):148-173.

McGeer, Victoria. (2008). “Trust, Hope and Empowerment.” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86(2): 237-254.

Meirav, A. (2009). “The Nature of Hope.” Ratio 22(2): 216-233.

Miceli, M. and Castelfranchi, C. (2010). “Hope the Power of Wish and Possibility.” Theory & Psychology 20(2): 251-276.

Miller J.F., (1986). “Development of an Instrument to Measure Hope.” Doctoral Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Miller, J.F. (2000). Coping with Chronic Illness: Overcoming Powerlessness (3rd ed.) Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company.

Morse, J. M., & Doberneck, B. (1995). “Delineating the Concept of Hope.” Journal of Nursing Scholarship 27(4): 277-285.

Morse, J., & Penrod, J. (1999). “Linking Concepts of Enduring, Uncertainly, Suffering and Hope.” Image: Journal of Nursing Scholarship 31: 145-150.

Nesse, Randolph M. (1999) “The Evolution of Hope and Despair.” Social Research 66(2): 429-69.

Nisbet, Robert. (1980) History of the Idea of Progress. New York: Basic Books.

Nunn, K. P. (1996). “Personal Hopefulness: A Conceptual Review of the Relevance of the Perceived Future to Psychiatry.” British Journal of Medical Psychology 69(3): 227-245.

Nunn, K. P., Lewin, T. J., Walton, J. M., & Carr, V. J. (1996). “The Construction and Characteristics of an Instrument to Measure Personal Hopefulness.” Psychological Medicine 26(03): 531-545.

Obayuwana, A. O., Collins, J. L., Carter, A. L., Rao, M. S., Mathura, C. C., & Wilson, S. B. (1982). “Hope Index Scale: An Instrument for the Objective Assessment of Hope.” Journal of the National Medical Association 74(8): 761-765.

Peterson, C. (2000) “The Future of Optimism.” American Psychologist 55: 44-55.

Peterson, C., Semmel, A., von Baeyer, C., Abramson, L. Y., Metalsky, G. I., & Seligman, M. E. (1982). “The Attributional Style Questionnaire.” Cognitive Therapy and Research, 6(3): 287-299.

Peterson, C., & Villanova, P. (1988). “An Expanded Attributional Style Questionnaire.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology97(1): 87-89.

Pettit, P. (2004). “Hope and its Place in Mind.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 592(1):152-165.

Rasmussen, H. N., Scheier, M. F., & Greenhouse, J. B. (2009). “Optimism and Physical Health: A Meta-analytic Review.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 37(3): 239-256.

Scioli, A. and Biller, H. (2009). Hope in the Age of Anxiety. Oxford University Press.

Spinoza, B. (1994). A Spinoza Reader: the Ethics and Other Works. Princeton University Press.

Scheier, M. F., & Carver, C. S. (1985) “Optimism, Coping, and Health: Assessment and Implications of Generalized Outcome Expectancies.” Health Psychology : Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association 4(3): 219-47.

Scheier, M. and Carver C. (1992) “Effects of Optimism on Psychological and Physical Well-Being: Theoretical Overview and Empirical Update.” Cognitive Therapy and Research 16(2): 201-28.

Scioli, A., Ricci, M., Nyugen, T., & Scioli, E. R. (2011) “Hope: Its Nature and Measurement.” Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 3(2): 78-97.

Snyder, C. R., Cheavens, J., & Sympson, S. C. (1997) “Hope: An Individual Motive for Social Commerce.” Group Dynamics 1: 107-18.

Stoner, M. (2003) “Measuring Hope.” In Frank-Stromberg & Olsen (Eds.), Instruments for Clinical Health-care Research. (3rd Edition). Jones and Bartlett Publishing.

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Tiger, L. (1995) Optimism: The Biology of Hope. New York: Simon & Schuster.